Salicylic Acid- Acne’s Worst Enemy?
Those who suffer from adult acne have most likely seen salicylic acid listed on cleanser labels and face washes. That, or they’ve heard dermatologists recommend products with the ingredient in them. However, it is not widely known what it is and why it works so well for your skin.
For the most part, Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid. This means it is oil-soluble and can reach deep into your pores for cleaning. It is also a keratolytic agent which allows it to help with the process of shedding or exfoliation of the skin.
Dr. Sonia Batra, MD, a dermatologist says that because of this, the acid can be useful for many skin issues. Acne is only one of the problems it can clear among warts, dandruff or psoriasis. By opening the pores, it can kill bacteria hiding deeper inside the skin.
Another common anti-acne agent is benzoyl peroxide, although salicylic acid is a little different. While they are both useful for treating acne, the acid removes the dead skin cells clogging pores while benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria in the pores.
Another bonus to salicylic acid is that, unlike benzoyl peroxide, it doesn’t cause dryness or irritation to the skin. Its gentleness contains the same anti-inflammatory that aspirin has.
How and When to Use Salicylic Acid
For non-prescription-strength cleansers with salicylic acid, it’s a good idea to apply it during your nighttime regimen. This is because it gives the ingredient time to absorb all the way into the skin.
Even though it is safe to use salicylic acid products often, too much could still cause dryness and flaking. If this occurs, merely reducing the amount of product or time used will help.
One drawback for salicylic acid is that it increases sun sensitivity. So if you’re using the cleanser during daylight hours, be sure you’re using sunscreen as well.
One of the best facial cleansers containing Salicylic Acid is the Glyone Acne Self-Foaming Cleanser. The cleaner has a gentle exfoliation that brightens the skin and keeps the pores unclogged. It also works with other acne products while not being overly drying.
A cheaper option is Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Face Acne Wash. It doesn’t dry the skin too much and prevents breakouts.